As far back as I can remember, Christmas has always a very critically important event in my family. It was a special time of family, great food and presents from Santa. Growing up in a small rural community in Northern Utah, I'd have to say my life was sheltered. (That would be an understatement.) Though we weren't what you would call rich, we had enough and to spare. We had the basic needs that every human craves. Love, fidelity, friendship and loyalty. Christmas was just a time to express those emotional traits.
One of the very first Christmas's that I remember was when I was almost five. I got a huge doll with thick curly hair and a rockin' horse. I treasured them both.You could find me practically every weekday riding my horse to the sounds of "Hi Ho, Silver, Away" or "Keep Those Doggies Movin', Rawhide". Man! That brings back blissful memories. The faster the action on the screen moved, the harder I rode the springed beauty. I put a lot of pressure on those coiled springs.
I remember one fateful Christmas when I had the measles. We couldn't have the blinds open in the front room for fear my eye sight would be damaged. That was a miserable year. I had to stay laying on the couch while the boys had their Christmas cheer without me.
Some of family traditions included mom's homemade oat and chocolate chip cookies and homemade fudge. Grandma Oldham's Alper's cookies and homemade pickles. Grandma Olsen's pies and mom's Christmas dinner. We had a living room that could be shut off from the rest of the house and we weren't allowed to enter the room Christmas morning unless all of us were awake. Trust David, my youngest brother, to be the hold up. He could sleep through an atomic blast and not move a muscle. We'd have to wait hours for him to drag his butt out of bed. Then it was bedlam.
We usually spent the day with Grandma Oldham and then ended up at Grandma Olsen's. The family would gather and good times were had by all. I can still here Grandpa Olsen yelling for me to get out of the way of the T.V.The last Christmas we spent in North Logan, Utah, my oldest brother Scott's family joined us. Judy, his wife, and their two oldest children, Fred and Jon helped us welcome in the holiday. I think that was my favorite Christmas. My second oldest brother, Reed, was designated as the gift hander-outer.Mom and Grandma Oldham were always wearing their aprons and usually in the midst of cooking up a Christmas storm.Mom and dad got new clothes and went out on the town. Don't they look great?Christmas time is a fantastic time for family photos. This was no exception. So many changes happened in that following year. My father lost his business, we lost our home and were forced to relocate to California. I'll always remember that very last Christmas in my home town. Pictured in back: Scott, his wife Judy, Dale's first wife Tanya, Dale, mom, David. Front: me, Grandma Oldham and Reed. Those were sweet, peaceful, innocent times. The world was blocked out of our thoughts as we shared happy times, calorie laden food and the spiritual blessings of being wrapped in the love of family. Thank the Lord these memories will always be in our minds and hearts as we look forward then take a step back. My family will always be the most important thing in my life.
Now I have my own family. A husband and a son. Watching Christmas unfold through his eyes will always be a great pleasure to me. His excitement and enthusiastic response to Christmas morning made my heart sigh. One of the best things about Christmas for Mike, was that most every year we spent it was Grandma and Grandpa Olsen. Even up to the a couple of years before mom passed away, they traveled to California to be with us.Their visit turned our tiny family into a big celebration. We miss them so much. Dad has a new wife now and mom is gone. On the 20th it will been three years since she passed away. Now all I have are memories of Christmas's passed and mom always there.
Well enough of the sentimental journey and just for the heck of it, I'm going to go against the P.C. crowd and wish you all a Merry Christmas! Wow! That felt good. I'll say it again. Merry Christmas! Remember those you care about the most this Christmas, even if you're not related to them. Make memories that you can look back on and feel glad.
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